Prepare for Election Day by readying your photo ID

Published 7:03 pm Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Nov. 8 General Election will mark the sixth statewide election in Mississippi with a voter ID law in place requiring citizens to show photo ID at the polls. More than 62 percent of Mississippi voters approved a citizen-initiated Constitutional Amendment in November 2011, and the law became effective in June 2014. The Mississippi law is one of the few across the country not subjected to legal challenge. While other states remain in federal litigation spending millions of dollars defending their laws, Mississippians trusted each other and implemented a constitutional voter ID law.

The list of acceptable photo IDs includes: a driver’s license; state or federal government-issued photo ID; U.S. passport; firearms license; student photo ID from an accredited Mississippi college, university, or junior and community college; U.S. military ID; or tribal photo ID. Voters who do not have any of these kinds of identification are eligible for a free Mississippi Voter ID card, which is also an acceptable photo ID for voting.

Obtaining a free Mississippi Voter ID card is simple, requiring only a visit to any Circuit Clerk’s Office in the state. One of the following documents is required for issuance of a Mississippi Voter ID card: an expired but valid photo ID document, birth certificate, social security card, Medicare card, Medicaid card, voter registration card, or some other recent bill or check containing the voter’s name and current address, such as a utility bill issued in the preceding six months. Circuit Clerk’s Offices are empowered to look up a voter’s birth information for free if none of the other documentation is available.

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If transportation to a Circuit Clerk’s Office is a problem, call 1-844-MSVOTER (1-844-678-6837), and a ride to the  circuit clerk’s office will be arranged at no charge.

Finally, on Election Day, voters who neglect to bring an acceptable photo ID will not be left out of the process. Affidavit ballots will be available for these voters, and the ballot will be counted if he or she presents an acceptable photo ID or obtains a free Mississippi Voter ID card in the Circuit Clerk’s Office within five business days after the election, which is Nov. 16.